| THE ADVENTURES OF BONNIE & GEORGE
| by Van ©2011
To see the actresses the author would cast in a Junn-Junn Wastes movie,
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Seven Days into the
The first two days after being
dropped off by BELENUS, Bonnie and George crossed a vast expanse
of dunes, mile after arid mile of rippling, rolling sand.
On the third day, rock outcroppings appeared and the dunes
receded. Gradually, the landscape become a continuously
branching maze of canyons and defiles broken by dry lake
beds. Towering, skyscraper-like spires of wind-blasted
rock broke the monotony, but mainly they sailed above narrow
valleys bordered by steep cliffs. Stunted trees and
scraggly bushes struggled to grow in some of the larger arroyos,
possibly tracing the path of underground streams. That was
the only vegetation visible in detail from cruising altitude.
Now and then, they soared above herds of dinosaurs. Some
were herbivores, with short, stubby legs, thick hides, and
massive, rounded forms, often studded with spikes or bony
plates. They generally scattered as the hoveryacht
approached. Others were carnivores, bipedal and fast, with
dagger-toothed jaws and long, stiff tails that served as
counterweights when they put their heads down and charged.
Some were quite large, solitary hunters the size of an armored
land-walker scout. Others were much smaller, individually
only about the size of humans, and they seemed to run in
packs. At first, the species they encountered were similar
if not identical to the dinosaurs roaming the wilder parts of
southern Gaul and the Iberian and Tyrrhenian badlands; but, as
the journey continued, what were almost certainly new species
began to appear.
The infamous Junn-Junn dragons hadn't yet revealed
themselves. On the fifth day, George thought she might have seen something
very large silhouetted against the setting sun as it landed atop
a spire many miles distant, but she couldn't be sure.
Of the warlike human inhabitants known to populate the
Junn-Junn, the explorers saw nary a sign. Either the local
population was too sparse to leave a mark on the land or they
had not yet reached any towns and villages. The natives
were known to have firearms, so Bonnie and George kept an eye
out for smoke or the regular, unnatural shapes of human-built
dwellings or forts atop the passing buttes and spires, intending
to give them a wide berth. So far, they had seen nothing.
They ran off the edge of their maps on day four and entered
lands totally unknown to Luropean civilization. The
partner not at the wheel filled the pages of the expedition's
journals with sketches and rough maps. They would have
liked to stop to conduct formal surveys and to take samples of
the vegetation and fauna, but the results would be of no value
if their broader purpose wasn't met. They were trying to
prove that crossing the Junn-Junn Wastes was even
possible. More detailed exploration would be left to later
expeditions. They pressed on with deliberate speed.
It was now day seven. Bonnie was at the wheel and watching
the sunrise. It was providing a spectacular display, a vista worthy of one of
the great landscape artists of Iroquoia. Bonnie couldn't
begin to catalog all the variations on the color "red" painting
the eastern horizon. George
could name them, she thought with a grin. She probably owns a gown
or accessory in every hue. The vista was truly
awe inspiring—and terrifying.
Just then, the hatch to the galley opened and George
emerged. Carrying two mugs, she climbed the ladder and
joined her partner on the quarterdeck. She handed one mug
to Bonnie, brought the second to her lips as she turned to face
the dawn—and paused. "Oh, my!"
"Indeed," Bonnie agreed. "Of course, there's no way to be
George sipped her tea. "Perhaps, but I'll be quite
surprised if we don't find ourselves in the middle of a
Junn-Junn sand-blizzard by nightfall." Violent storms were
yet another reason the Wastes were dangerous, but the total lack
of meteorological stations between Luropa and Gondwana made the
weather of the interior impossible to forecast with any degree
of scientific accuracy.
"The barometer is dropping and the wind shifting," Bonnie
stated. "We must assume the worst."
George nodded. "I'll start securing the deck and down below, in case we
have to set down."
Bonnie gazed at the terrain ahead. "Take your time.
It doesn't look like we'll be running out of possible shelter
anytime soon. It looks like more of the same, with plenty
of places to moor."
Despite the inherent dangers, Bonnie and George had devised the
means to stop in relative safety. If a violent storm did develop, it would be
their first occasion to test the plan. Specifically, they
would find an arroyo or narrow valley where they could moor the
hoveryacht with the bow into the prevailing wind. They
would then furl the sails, retract the masts, rig a cover over
the deck, and wait out the storm, hovering between the rock
walls but not in actual contact. They would stand guard
with Tesla-rifles, but the assumption was that any rampaging
predators should be more concerned with finding their own shelter than climbing
the mooring lines. As an added precaution, electrified
ratguards that packed a powerful wallop would discourage
But what if inadequate mooring points presented
themselves? The Genius Girls had an answer for that, as
well, in the form of explosive anchors. If push came to
shove, they could deploy said anchors against the native rock
and trigger charges that would drive bolts deep into the
surface. When the storm passed, they could release the
bolts with smaller, shotgun shell sized charges, allowing the
main anchor assemblies to be reused, assuming they weren't
damaged beyond repair, of course.
Would the cables and anchors hold, or would GWENDOLINE be dashed
against the cliffs and destroyed? No matter. Our
Brave Heroines would prepare for the worst as best they
could—and they knew the job was dangerous when they took it.
the Junn-Junn Wastes
wind was howling like a Hibernian banshee—like an entire coven of Hibernian
"It's too dangerous!" George shouted in Bonnie's ear. They
were at the bow, peering with goggle-protected eyes at what they
could see of the forward mooring lines. They'd found what
looked like a very good spot to shelter, a narrow valley divided
by a small butte that would shield GWENDOLINE from the
wind. They'd already deployed their lines, fore and aft as
well as port and starboard, but Bonnie was worried about one of
the forward lines. The cable was looped around a large
boulder, but it was possible it might slip if the wind lifted
the bow. Bonnie wanted to add an explosive anchor to be
"I'll slide down a cable and deploy the anchor," Bonnie
grinned. "And if I can't climb back on my own, you can
winch me on board. Piece of cake."
George shook her head. "You'll be dashed against the
"Not if you winch me up at the stern."
"Oh." George sighed. "Very well, but hurry. We
still have to deploy the ratguards. And it's getting
"Quick like a bunny," Bonnie chuckled and they made their way
With the thirty pound steel anchor folded and slung across her
back, Bonnie scrambled down a mooring line, then made her way
In addition to her usual boots, johdpurs, and blouse, Bonnie was
wearing a desert robe. Full length, with long, full
sleeves and a generous hood, the light cotton garment was
tie-dyed in several shades of tan, rust, and gray and was
excellent camouflage. Her gray scarf across her mouth and
goggles over her eyes, Bonnie clutched the robe close and
staggered forward, leaning into the wind. She deployed the
anchor at the base of the boulder, shackled it to the mooring
line, then pulled the firing lanyard.
The charge went off with a muffled bang. Bonnie frowned. Had it been
her imagination, or had she also
heard a high-pitched, soprano scream? She turned and faced
the stern, but all she could see was the underside of
GWENDOLINE, the folded lifting modules, and blowing sand—but
wait! Were those cloaked and hooded figures huddled around
the aft lines, or was she seeing boulders she'd simply failed to
notice, earlier? No, she was sure they hadn't been there
before, whatever they were!
The wailing scream sounded, again—and was abruptly cut off!
reached under her robe for her Tesla pistol—then froze.
The sand had cleared for a second and she saw that the
"boulders" had increased in number, and some of them were
climbing the aft mooring lines! It would do George no good
for Bonnie to simply charge forward and get herself killed of
captured. Best to hide and strike when the time was right,
when it would do George some good.
Bonnie eased back into the shadows of the butte. There was
a shallow cave, little more than the size of her body, a couple
of feet to one side. She crammed herself into the
triangular opening, sat down in the sand, and pulled her robe
close untill it covered her completely. She watched
through a slit between scarf and hood as her footprints quickly
filled with sand... then were completely obliterated.
Seconds later, a shadow crossed the cave entrance... followed by
a second shadow... and then there was nothing but the howling
wind, blowing sand, and the knot of worry twisting her
the Junn-Junn Wastes
tugged on the cord or thin rope or whatever had been used to lash her wrists
behind her back and struggled to expel the rag stuffed in her
mouth. Her efforts were blocked by the thinness of her
bonds and the apparent unavailability of an actual knot, none
that her groping and fluttering fingers could discover, in any
case. Also a bandage-like cloth had been tied over the
stuffing in her mouth. She'd been waiting at GWENDOLINE's
stern to help Bonnie clamor back on board so they could rig the
ratguards and start thinking about dinner.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a lasso dropped over George's
head and shoulders, cinched tight, and pulled her off her
feet! Before she could do more than shriek in surprise, her
hands were pulled behind her back and tied together. She
kicked out and her boot connected with one of her cloaked and
hooded attackers, but there were too many of them and they were
too strong. George was overpowered. A hand clamped
down over her mouth and she bit down. Immediately, the
hand was released and George screamed, again, but her soprano
wail was cut off when the rag was stuffed in her mouth.
The cleave-gag was tied, more bindings tightened around her
booted ankles, and the issue was completely decided.
Next, George's captors lifted her up and literally tossed her
over the side! She screamed through her gag, but instead
of falling, George found herself dangling from several lassos,
some held by cloaked figures on GWENDOLINE's deck and some on
the cliff face. Various of the ropes were hauled in or
played out she was pulled into a small cave, more or less even
with the level of the main deck. George wiggled like a
fish on the line as the ropes jerked and swung—and then she
found herself in darkness.
George's eyes adjusted, and the inky blackness became torchlight
flickering off stone walls. She was inside the cave and a
canvas or animal hide cover had been stretched across the
she realized. That's
why we didn't see the cave as we moored. The wind
was still howling, but at greatly reduced volume. George
was lying on her side on a rocky and sandy floor, surrounded by
six, no eight of her
mysterious captors. Their cloaks were of rough-spun fabric
and were pieced together from irregular patches, each dyed in a
slightly different earth-tone hue. As desert camouflage,
they were equal if not superior to Bonnie's robe.
George shook her head, dislodging the bandage securing the rag,
then spit the wad to the floor. "Who are you?' she
demanded. "Let me go, immediately, and take me to your
leader... or to the
closest Grand Alliance consulate." The figures threw back
their hoods, shrugged out of their cloaks, and let them drop to
the cave floor. "Oh, my," George gasped, staring in
surprise (and awe).
Her captors were female, every one, and they were practically naked! Their
costumes consisted of boots, loincloths decorated by fringed
hems, beads, embroidery, and small tufts of feathers, weapons
belts, and (on three of them) bandeaus similar to their
loincloths. Narrow masks of blue and purple paint framed
their eyes, and their hair was arranged in various ponytails and
braids, but otherwise... naked!
Their bodies were deeply tanned and their bodies quite
athletic, with well-defined muscles. The overall effect
was charmingly barbaric, reminiscent of ancient Celtic and
Iroquoian tribal attire George had seen in the British Museum,
but still... naked!
One of the women—with piercing blue eyes and sun-streaked, brown
hair—knelt and lifted George's chin. "Who are we?" she
chuckled. "We are the Sand Amazons, and you are our
"Is she covered with dust?" another of the "Sand Amazons"
inquired. "Look how pale."
The kneeling amazon licked her right index finger and used it to
rub George's left cheek.
"Stop that!" George huffed, and her watching captors laughed.
"No, her skin pink, like belly of dune toad."
"Short hair," another observed. "You sure she not boy?"
"She dress like Luroper girl," the kneeling amazon stated.
"We make sure, later."
The amazons laughed, again.
George twisted her bound wrists. "I demand—M'mmpfh!"
The sun-streaked brunette had her hand clamped over George's
mouth. "You want see leader? You see Queen." She picked up
the rag and stuffed it back in George's mouth. "This one
wiggler. Tie her tight before packing."
George's brown eyes darted from face to tan, beautiful, gloating
face. Packing? she
The cleave-gag was not retied, but its function was taken up by
a complicated hood of chamois leather. As much bridle as
head-covering, it had large, oval openings for George's eyes and
a smaller, triangular gap for her nose. It laced up the back of
her cranium by means of lace-thin thongs, making it skintight,
and its leather straps of varying widths pressed against her
lips, cupped her chin, and caged her head. When the last
thong was knotted, George doubted she could get out of the thing
even if her hands were free, not without the use of a sharp
And then the binding began. George's wrist and ankle bonds
were untouched, but rope was used to lash her elbows together,
her upper arms to her torso and forearms to her waist, her legs
together, from ankles to thighs, and her bent legs to her
torso. When her captors were finished, George found
herself in a tightly hitched ball with her chin nearly resting
on her knees and her boot heels nearly touching her fingers.
Next came the promised "packing." A basket was
produced. Constructed of stout, interwoven sticks
reinforced with lashings of cord, it was the size and shape
required to hold a ball-tied prisoner with little room to
spare. In short order, George found herself inside the
contrivance, head up and bottom down. A domed lid designed
to cage her head as tightly as the main basket caged her body
was dropped in place and melded to the main basket with a
continuous running-hitch of rope. The final knots were
tied somewhere behind George's head.
The amazons rolled and bundled their cloaks and checked the
slings of their various firearms, crossbows, and bundled
supplies. George watched with anxious eyes through the
lattice of her close-fitting prison as her captors prepared to
travel. We're going out
into the storm? Surely not. A stout pole
was passed through hefty loops in the basket and George and her
cage were lifted onto the shoulders of a pair of amazons.
Then, torchbearers in front and behind, the party stepped off,
heading not for the covered entrance but deeper into the cave.
The floor sloped down and the passage narrowed as they made
their ways between jutting boulders. It's not a cave, but a tunnel!
George realized, then sighed through her gag. Well, actually, it's both.
Swaying in her basket, she was being carried ever further away
from GWENDOLINE and Bonnie! And what had become of her
partner? Had Bonnie been captured, as well—or had she
escaped and was lost in the deadly storm? George imagined
the worst, but hoped for the best. It was all she could
the Junn-Junn Wastes
huddled in the shelter of her tiny cave throughout the
night. She remained perfectly still, even in the darkness,
carefully rationing the slow, cautious comfort motions and
stretches required to keep her muscles from cramping.
Bonnie was half Brit, a quarter Gaul, and a quarter Tuscarora,
and she'd spent most of her girlhood summers with her Tribal
relatives, running with the other youngsters and learning to
hunt and fish in the old ways. The "stillness of the
hunter"—to remain immobile, alert, and unconcerned with personal
discomfort—was one of the earliest lessons imparted by her
elders. At first, it had been sheer torture to simply sit
in the woods, not moving and not speaking, but eventually she
learned to still her mind and control her impulses—and it was
like the opening of a door. The ancient hardwood forest
began to speak to her, and she began to listen. It was a
lesson, one of many imparted during those hot, green months,
that had done much to form Bonnie's character and make her
different from her fashion and gossip-obsessed female relatives
back in London.
The Iroquoian Forests spoke of water and the rhythm of the
seasons, of rain and flowing rivers and the cycle of birth and
The Junn-Junn Wastes spoke of sun and wind. It was
indifferent to life—not hostile—indifferent. And
water? Water hid from the heat and the rocks. If it
showed itself, it would be taken into the sky. Water was
fugitive. It hid under the sand, or it was soon gone.
Bonnie sat in her crevice, huddled in her robe, and she waited.
Finally, the wind slackened and the sky brightened. The
storm was abating. Gusts still lifted the sand and howled
between the rock walls, but this was punctuated by ever longer
periods of relative quiet, with only the distant, ever fainter
moan of the passing storm disturbing the dawn.
Suddenly, cloaked figures appeared, indistinct in the pre-dawn
glow. They dropped down GWENDOLINE's mooring lines and
gathered in a huddle under the floating hull. Many of the
ghost-like forms opened their cloaks, and a few removed them
completely. Now, Bonnie could see that they were
women—strong, warrior women. Dressed in boots and
loincloths, armed with long knives, pistols, carbines, and
crossbows, they moved with the natural grace and ease of
fighters. And they were a mixed lot, blond, brunette, and
raven-haired beauties, with complexions varying from dark tan to
dark browns that suggested Gondwanese blood.
Voices shouted down from GWENDOLINE, and several of the women
looked up. Words were exchanged, but the conversation was
too quiet for Bonnie to follow. Then, another she-warrior,
this one with long, straight, brown hair, scrambled down a line
and dropped to the sand. She was clothed like the rest,
but her cloak was rolled and slung across her back, next to a
Castillian cavalry carbine and a coiled lasso. Her
remaining costume and accoutrements—rough boots, fringed
loincloth, knife, water skin, and belt pouch (no bandeau)—were
the same as her companions, but Bonnie could see that the others
were treating her with respectful deference. She issued
orders and the warriors split into several groups.
Unseen behind her camouflaged, dusty cloak (she hoped) Bonnie
watched as one party filed directly in front of her crevice and
continued around the side of the butte. Other groups
climbed the cliff faces to Bonnie's right and left. A
final contingent scrambled back up the mooring lines, returning
The newcomer—the leader—remained on the ground. Bonnie
watched as she opened her pouch, reached inside, and pulled out
what was unmistakably George's custom-made, polychromatic
If anyone knew what was happening, especially what was happening
to George, it would be this woman—and now, for the moment, she
was alone. The warrior returned George's goggles to her
pouch, turned, and walked away, down the arroyo and away from
GWENDOLINE and Bonnie. Her stride could only be described
as cat-like... if the Junn-Junn had cats. Perhaps a better descriptor would
be 'Velociraptor-like,' Bonnie decided, only without the tail.
Bonnie watched the warrior's strong thighs and that portion of
her firm, dimpled rump not covered by her loincloth. Well, Bonnie corrected
herself, not a long, pointy
The odds will never be better,
Bonnie decided. She eased to her feet. The sand that
had drifted against her body and in the folds of her robe slowly
drained to the rocky floor. She waited until the leader
was just barely in sight, about to disappear around a bend in
the narrow canyon. Then, slowly, carefully, Bonnie
followed, moving with the stealth of a Tuscaroran hunter.
She kept her desert robe close around her body, turning her
hooded head to scan the cliffs while keeping her quarry in
sight. There was no sign of the warriors who had climbed
the rock walls, and the storm cover was lashed tight to
GWENDOLINE's side-rails with none of the view-flaps open.
As far as Bonnie could tell, she was unobserved.
Bonnie paused in the shadow of a large boulder to slide her
Tesla pistol from its holster. She quietly blew any
accumulated dust from the trigger assembly and charging
coils. The indicator dial was at full charge. She
slid the weapon back into its holster and continued stalking her
prey. GWENDOLINE's moored, hovering form disappeared
behind her, around the curve of the cliff wall.
the Junn-Junn Wastes
storm had left the air clear of all dust. As the sun
continued to climb, the empty sky took on a turquoise-blue
brilliance unlike anything Bonnie had ever seen. Her
quarry remained in sight, making her way through the rocky maze,
passing side openings nearly as large as the main arroyo.
Bonnie wanted to let her get well away from her subordinates
before she pounced. Of course, for all Bonnie knew, at any
moment the warrior she was stalking would join a party twice the
size of the group they had left behind. Nothing was
certain—other than the telltale presence of George's goggles in
the warrior's pouch.
After something like three miles, the arroyo opened onto a dry
lake bed. The shoreline, if you could call it that, was
strewn with house-sized boulders sculpted by the wind into
fanciful shapes. Bonnie watched her prey stroll into the
jumbled field and decided to pick up her pace. The warrior
was leaving a trail. The average Luropean would have
missed it, but a Tuscaroran child could easily follow the marks
on the loose ground. The warrior was no longer in sight,
but Bonnie continued to follow, carefully and quietly.
Bonnie eased around the side of a terraced pillar of
sandstone—and found she had reached the very edge of the boulder
field. Ahead lay the flat pan of the dry lake, stretching
nearly to the horizon. Beyond and on all sides were more
cliffs, canyons, and spires. Of her prey, there was quite
literally no sign. Her tracks simply... ended. There
were no rocks nearby, no hard surface the warrior could have
stepped onto. The scuff-marks and depressions simply
She back-trailed me,
Bonnie realized. That
means she knows she's being followed, and—
Suddenly, Bonnie heard a quiet cough behind her. She
turned—and froze in place. Instantly, her pulse began
racing and the hairs on the back of her neck stood fully
Something like thirty yards away was a fully grown Tyrannosaurus rex!
The fearsome predator's head was down and it was sniffing the
sniffing Bonnie's tracks! It lifted its massive head,
focused on Bonnie, opened its dagger-toothed jaws, and ROARED!
the Junn-Junn Wastes